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Stories 41-42

I seem to have this knack for randomly picking stories out of the pile I have and finding that they have some connection -- the same author, similar themes, etc.  Yesterday and today's stories are no exception to this.

The Insufferable Gaucho by Roberto Bolano (translated by Chris Andrews), in the October 1, 2007 New Yorker, is about an Buenos Aires widower and lawyer/judge who, after his children are grown, becomes restless and predicts the downfall of the Argentinian economy.  It turns out he's right, and since he didn't smartly move his money to where the government didn't freeze it, he decides to leave the city for his "ranch" in the Pampas and try living off the land.  The story is a little stiff and formal in places, like the lead character himself.

Wakefield by E.L. Doctorow from the January 14, 2008 New Yorker, is a first person narrative of a NYC lawyer named Howard Wakefield who comes home to the suburbs in a blackout, and has an encounter with a raccoon that sets him on the path of being a hermit/homeless person.  It's a longer story than "Gaucho" (although Gaucho is by no means a short short story), and it has that kind of gothic first-person style to it -- so much so that any mention of modern conveniences like cell phones and BMWs actually almost threw me out of the story which is otherwise engrossing.

Both of these are available, as of a few nights ago, on The New Yorker's website's fiction page.

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